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Are You Ready For Some Football?

on September 1, 2012

It’s finally here! One of our most favorite times of year is upon us. There is nothing like fall: changing leaves, chilly mornings, fresh crisp air, apples, pumpkin, hot chocolate…. Okay so it’s still 100 degrees outside and the only leaves falling are doing so because they’ve dried up over the summer. The air is still heavy with humidity and the apples aren’t ready to pick yet. Still… is still the beginning of our favorite seasons: football season!  I’m from Nebraska where football is a state-wide pastime.  More specifically Husker Football is a state-wide passion.  Although it is written anywhere I’m pretty sure it is illegal to be in public on a fall Saturday if you are not wearing red.  Everything shuts down at game time.  Weddings are scheduled around the football schedule. (No I’m not kidding.)  The mood in churches on Sunday is directly affected by the result of the game the day before.  We’re a little obsessed. We have no professional teams in any sport within the state borders.  Our love is fully directed at our beloved Huskers and their sports prowess. We love all the teams but none more than the football team.  Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is the third most populated “city” in our state on game days.  Friday nights will find every small town resembling a ghost town as people show up at stadiums across the state to watch high school games. We’ll drive 6 hours to watch our kids stand on the sidelines. We don’t care.  They are part of the team and we will cheer that team on.  We’ll go back for years and watch the team because our kid played at that high school 20 years ago. Yep. We’re loyal and we love our football.

I’m no different from my fellow Nebraskans.  Football is as big a part of my life in the fall as breathing.  I can’t remember a fall Saturday growing up when the game wasn’t on the radio or television.  I spent many an hour sitting in bleachers watching my older brother’s football games.  My dad played football at OU, “Omaha University” when he went now the “University of Nebraska at Omaha”. My brother was asked to walk on at UNL: University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  My son played.  My other son is beginning to play.  My husband never played but is a huge football fan.  Yep. I am one of those women who love football.  It’s not all that uncommon where I live. My husband loves that I enjoy watching games with him and understand what is going on on the field. I ought to. I’ve spent enough time watching it.

Last night found me at the first home football game for the local public high school.  I had an excuse to be there: my girls are both in the marching band that performs at halftime.  Even if they weren’t I may have gone anyway.  There is nothing like the atmosphere of a hometown football game in Nebraska. Besides, my son played for this high school. I will admit that I find myself much more relaxed now.  It is much easier to enjoy the game when your kid is the one marching with an instrument and conducting the half time show than it is when your kid is the one getting hit over and over.  It was during my son’s high school games that I discovered I am a crazy mother.  I, the woman who painstakingly taught my little boy that it was never okay to get into a physical altercation with someone, found myself yelling things like, “Come on Erik! Flatten that kid!”  It didn’t occur to me at the time that “that kid” has a mother too. Of course his mother was probably yelling the same thing across the field so I don’t feel really bad.  Just a little sheepish. I was also the woman who drove her spouse crazy saying things like, “Is he ok?  Is that a limp?  That was a good hit right?”  Yeah.  We may all be happy that all I have personally invested now is that one kid conducts well and the other stays in step.  I still care about their classmates out there playing the game but it isn’t as personal.  It’s a good thing.  Last night’s game didn’t go so well.  (I am happy to report that the band sounded good though!)

As our younger son and I sat in the packed stands during the game where the hometown team was losing a few things about football fans, specifically Nebraska football fans, became apparent to me.  I’m going to share them so that you can be prepared should you ever encounter a fanatical football watcher from our great state.

  1. All the men in the stands are better coaches than the ones on the field.  They have a better game plan.  They are experts on which plays are stupid to run and which kid needs to learn his position better.  None of them are actual coaches but they could be if called upon.  After all they have watched a lot of football.
  2. Everyone in the stand are better referees than the ones on the field.  They see every pass interference that isn’t called.  It doesn’t matter that the defensive player didn’t touch the receiver if the receiver tripped it has to be the fault of the man defending him.  Throw the flag dummies!  They can also tell, from the stands, whether or not a player’s knee was down before he fumbled.  They have better vision than that idiot who was standing right there.
  3. When the game begins turning south the conversations turn to what needs to be fixed in order to play the rest of the season.  Those conversations usually start with discussion of whether or not the coaching staff needs to be replaced and how the future practices need to be run.  Then they discuss whether or not someone else’s kid would do a better job playing a certain position.  Those discussions are usually started by the parents of the players who are not starting.  The starters parents are busy blaming the rest of the team.
  4. While the men are busy rearranging the starting line up the women usually begin gossiping. Usually about other people’s kids.  The game is boring so we might as well talk about something else. Right?
  5. The unattended children whose parents haven’t been paying attention to their loud obnoxious behavior because they were busy watching the game get worse.  Now instead of just yelling annoying things and stomping on the bleacher where you are sitting they begin running up and down the stairs blocking the view for those who want to watch the game. They suddenly need to use the bathroom and get food. Constantly.
  6. The cheerleaders, whose job it is to fire up the crowd, do not understand that the cheer, “Up up on your feet, Our team can’t be beat” is probably not appropriate at this point in the game.  The crowd isn’t going to respond to that one.  At least they had their defense/offense cheers going at the appropriate times.  I’ve been to games when they were cheering “1st and 10 do it again!” when the opposing team had the ball.  Cheerleaders should really take a “Football 101” crash course.
  7. Band parents leave after the halftime show when the team is losing.  (This one didn’t!) I mean the important part of the game is done, right?
  8. Every player on the opposing team suddenly is a dirty player.  It doesn’t matter that their blocks are legal or that they just delivered a good hit.  They must be doing something dirty.  The whole program is run without integrity after all.  No one deciding this lives in that town or has ever met anyone associated with the program but they have to be dirty.  They are beating us after all.
  9. Student sections get disinterested in the game and begin doing things they shouldn’t be doing.  This is why my kids never sit in student sections.
  10. At some point even the optimists must admit that the game is out of reach.  They have to give up and quit cheering.  They’ve been cheering really loud up to that point just to prove that they still have faith in their team.  They have to this point believed that their enthusiastic support will somehow will the team to suddenly play better and turn the game around.  It is rather sad to watch them deflate and sit down.

That was my experience last night.  Today is the opening game of Husker football.  We are prepared with our red shirts and our super nachos to eat. Excitement has been building for weeks with every scouting and practice report.   The air is electric. Everyone is waiting to see how our beloved Big Red will perform this year. Will this be the “break out season”?  Will this be the year that we begin to feel the greatness of the Huskers will be restored? I have no idea but I can guarantee you that when I log on to Facebook today all the experts will be posting their opinions. They’ll have all the information on what needs to change and who needs to go.  Should the game not go well there will be posts calling for a new coaching staff, new quarterback or new defensive and offensive game plans.  These are Husker fans and they know football . They know what needs to be done.  After all: There Is No Place Like Nebraska! Especially on game day.



6 responses to “Are You Ready For Some Football?

  1. We are big football fans here too! The Packers and the Badgers. My aunt lives in Omaha so she is on your side! My mom and her got in a little tiff last year when my mom placed a little bet that the Badgers were going to beat the Huskers…the Badgers won and my mom had to rub it in a little!!! haha!! They’re so serious about it!

    • wedelmom says:

      Oh my word – that game had many a Husker fan upset. We didn’t just get beat, we got humiliated. Painful to watch from this state. 😉 I try to keep it all in perspective, it’s just a game, but there are many people around here who can’t seem to do that.
      This is too funny. Like I said there isn’t a professional team in NE so you most people choose one from neighboring states. My husband was born in Denver so he is a HUGE Bronco fan like his father is. (Hope this doesn’t mean we can no longer follow each other or comment chat. lol!) Our younger daughter was due on Superbowl Sunday the year the Broncos and Packers played. My doctor was a Packers fan. I was SO relieved that I didn’t go into labor that day! 🙂

      • haha! Bronco fan doesn’t matter it’s more of those Bears fans we worry about! I went into labor with my last son during a Packer game (against the Bears) and everyone pretty much forgot about me! We had the game on while I was pushing and everyone’s eyes were on the TV and not me!! The Packers ended up losing that game!! =(

      • wedelmom says:

        I didn’t realize the Packers and Bears didn’t like each other but I totally get it. My brother is a life long Raiders fan and a few of my cousins are Chiefs fans. The conversations between them and my husband make for some entertaining Thanksgiving dinners. 😉

  2. I love this! I am currently on my way to Atlanta to watch my beloved Auburn Tigers play Clemson. Last night was high school football. Everything you said about Nebraska football is true of both Auburn and Alabam fans. The big difference, in our state, is that we have to share the state and on one level really hate each other. Given that the state champion of Alabama has been national champion the past three years it has been rather intense. I can’t imagine what the state of Alabama would be like if it had just one major team. In Alabama, we love our teams , but I’m not sure whether we love our teams as much as we hate the other. Actually a strange situation but makes for a lot of fall excitement!

    • wedelmom says:

      Only having one division one school does simplify things for us. 😉
      I watched the Clemson/Auburn game. Sorry it didn’t turn out the way you would have liked for your tigers. I was cheering for them!

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